Tech in Action: 7-Eleven tries to catch ‘em all

The convenience store is using AR to promote the release of Detective Pikachu and send fans to its loyalty app.

Detective Pikachu, a live-action movie based on the Pokemon video game and media franchise, is an interesting mix of the virtual and real world for anyone who grew up playing the games. Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is running with that idea, using AR to create the excitement that will drive people to theatres – as well as to its app and loyalty program.

While it doesn’t have the same degree of immersiveness fans might expect from the likes of Pokemon GO, it does come with the promise of something else they might be engaged with: free stuff. By using the the convenience store chain’s app in Canada and the U.S., users can access AR functions that will help them search for “missing” Pokemon as part of a storyline pulled from the movie (which hits theatres this Friday). Finding a different missing Pokemon every week will give players access to special offers, such as free food and beverages from 7-Eleven or extra points for its 7Rewards loyalty program.

App users will also be able to access photo filters based on the movie, and sharing selfies using the filters will also help them earn bonus loyalty points.

Tarang Sethia, 7‑Eleven’s VP of digital customer experience, said the film has broad customer appeal, as Pokemon is a franchise that has connected with everyone from today’s kids to millennials that played the original video games when they were released in the mid-90s. He adds that an AR execution made sense, given Pokemon’s roots as a video game. “Neighborhood Watch” is part of a larger partnership between 7-Eleven and Warner Bros. to co-promote the movie, as the retailer is also stocking a number of branded products, such as licensed merchandise and limited edition Slurpee cups.